Forza Motorsport 4 Preview

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 10th Oct 2011

Forza Motorsport 4

Any examination of the Forza franchise must begin with acknowledging that it is one of the two leading titles within the racing genre that, being platform exclusives, battle with each other in the arena that is largely populated by platform fans. Each time a new entry is released, there is the inevitable bickering over which is the better, invariably the points being raised happen to be the strong point for one game or the other, but this time around Forza may have taken the flag with a dozen car-lengths of safety zone.

Fans of the series are aware that Forza was never really completely about racing -- it was also about the cars -- a point that can be easily seen in the newest feature in the game, Autovista. What, you might be wondering, is Autovista?

At E3 this year we were clued in -- Autovista is many things, but at its core it is a virtual showroom in which the gamer can walk around (with Kinect we say that literally) each of the cars that are featured in the game, and inspect them down to fine detail! Open the boot and the bonnet, open the doors, take a close look at the fuel injection system, hell, check out the hinges on the door!

The deeper and closer into each of the cars you go, the more information you can find in the form of "Information Points" that are attached to the car for your edification and enjoyment. The Info Points were all written by the writers from the smash hit TV series Top Gear -- yeah, seriously -- and in addition to educating you they also entertain.

If that is not enough, in addition to all of the cars we expect to see -- the cars that are in the game -- we are also given a treat to be savored: the '54 AMG Transport Dynamics M12 Warthog FAV of UNSC fame. Yeah, the Warthog from Halo -- but not just any Warthog from Halo, the Warthog from the upcoming Halo game which means it is the most cutting-edge Warthog of all. Woot!

While we admit that Autovista is rather a bit of flash, it is the sort of flash that can -- and does -- make a game stand out in the crowd, but flash is not what Forza 4 is all about, it is just an extra bit of icing for the cake. What the game is about is racing, but more than that, delivering as lifelike a racing experience as it can, from the use of light and shadow to texture, tone, and motion, delivering the very essence of what going that fast in one of those cars, on that road, can be.

If you happen to live in Europe then you may already know what it is like to ride, balls-out, down a highway that is built for speed and has no speed limits save for a minimum speed and some pretty serious rules about what lane you use to travel in and how you go about passing. If you have never been fortunate enough to have that experience, you can have it here, in Forza 4. If a personal observation is welcome, having spent considerable time driving some of the very roads that appear in this game, though admittedly in rental cars whose top speed petered out at 130 MPH, I can attest that it is almost as good as being there. 'Nuff said.